An alien galaxy captured in stunning detail

A Hubble Space Telescope image of spiral galaxy ESO 415-19, located about 450 million light-years away. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton, Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

the stranger spiral galaxy NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. While the center of this object resembles a regular spiral galaxy, long streams of stars stretch out from the galactic core like bizarrely elongated spiral arms. These are tidal streams caused by some chance interaction in the galaxy’s past, and give ESO 415-19 a distinctly peculiar appearance.

ESO 415-19’s peculiarity made it a great target for Hubble. This observation comes from an ongoing campaign to explore the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, a menagerie of some of the weirdest and most wonderful galaxies that the Universe has to offer. These galaxies range from bizarre lonesome galaxies to spectacularly interacting galaxy pairs, triplets, and even quintets. These space oddities are spread throughout the night sky, which means that Hubble can spare a moment to observe them as it moves between other observational targets.

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

This view of nearly 10,000 galaxies is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The snapshot includes galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. The smallest, reddest galaxies may be among the most distant known, existing when the universe was just about 800 million years old. The nearest galaxies – the larger, brighter, well-defined spirals and ellipticals – thrived about 1 billion years ago, when the cosmos was 13 billion years old. The image required 800 exposures taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits around Earth. The total amount of exposure time was 11.3 days, taken between September 24, 2003, and January 16, 2004. Credit: NASA, ESA, and S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team

This particular observation lies in a part of the night sky contained by the Fornax constellation. This constellation was also the site of a particularly important Hubble observation; the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (see image above). Creating the Ultra Deep Field required almost a million seconds of Hubble time, and captured nearly 10,000 galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. Just as climate scientists can recreate the planet’s atmospheric history from ice cores, astronomers can use deep field observations to explore slices of the Universe’s history from the present all the way to when the Universe was only 800 million years old!

See also  Ancient microbial 'dark matter' - thousands of unknown bacterial species discovered in Hawaii's lava caves

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.